DITCH THE WEEKEND OVEREATING AND THE GUILT!

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Stop justifying your weekend behaviours and ask yourself “why was I really overeating”?

  • I had a social event on or a party.
  • I was too busy.
  • I had to work
  • It’s the weekend. Fuck it!
  • I ate good all week.
  • I haven’t eaten all day.
  • Well, she is having it so I might as well too!
  • There was nothing in the fridge.
  • I already ate like shit on Friday night, so I might as well top it off!
  • The ice-cream was on special. So, I had to buy 2 tubs.
  • I trained every day this week.
  • I was bored.
  • I had a stressful day.

Any of this sound familiar to you?

 
We get busy. We get distracted. We may have strict food rules. We forget to eat. We have no time. Overeating or bingeing can happen for many reasons. But letting yourself get too hungry and stressed is setting yourself up for failure leading to eating amounts of delicious food.

We seem to find any comforting excuse to justify why we overeat or go on a weekend binge. Any explanation that matches what was happening at the time. Sometimes you will want to eat less nutritious food every so often and that’s fine. It’s normal. Besides, how good is the carrot cake from cool mango? (I do highly recommend by the way)

Instead of repeatedly falling back into the trap of justifying your food choices, take the time to ask yourself what’s really going on and why did I overeat. Do this over and over again every time you overeat until you notice a pattern behind it. Bingo! You’ve found the gold! Now you have the opportunity to practice changing your behaviours and start strategising a way to address those emotions you're experiencing at the time instead of overeating or bingeing.

Grab a diary and a pen!

 

Ask yourself, In the 1-2 hours beforehand:

  • What are you doing?
  • What are you thinking?
  • What are you feeling emotionally?
  • What are you feeling physically?
  • Where are you?
  • What time is it?
  • Who’s with you?

Ask yourself, In the middle of it:

  • What are you doing?
  • What are you thinking?
  • What are you feeling emotionally?
  • What are you feeling physically?
  • What are you consuming?
  • Why are you choosing this particular food?
  • Where are you?
  • Who’s with you?

Ask yourself, afterwards:

  • What are you doing?
  • What are you thinking?
  • What are you feeling emotionally?
  • What are you feeling physically?
  • Where are you?
  • Who’s with you?

 

The goal is to build awareness of what you’re eating episodes have in common. Maybe it’s a time of the day, or situation, or a type of food, or another person, or a feeling. You want to describe in as much detail as possible what your experiencing at the time. Then go back and look at the common features and the steps you took.

You want to build an understanding of the process leading up to your overeating or bingeing episode which you can then use to disrupt these patterns. Be honest with yourself. Your job from here is to collect data so you can analyse your own patterns and develop strategies to resolve these habitual behaviours. 

Are you bored, are your stressed? Are you happy? Are you tired? 

Do something else to address those emotions instead of bingeing.

 

Strategy 1:

Give up on 'Cheat Days!'

Some people find the weekend “cheat” useful both mentally and physically. If it works for you, that’s fine. But for most people, Monday comes around and you feel like shit for the rest of the week and whinge that you are tired and wonder why you aren’t progressing in the gym. “It’s back to strict eating this week”! This was me over and over again…. Until I gave in on my “cheat day”, You don’t need to cheat because there is nothing to cheat on!

This was me over and over again until I ditched my food rules and allowed myself to eat what I wanted. I stopped stressing about calories and weighing food. I was obsessed!! I stopped writing meal plans. I unfollowed all of my food inspo on social media. (I do recommend this by the way) I tunes in to what my body wanted and owned my choices. 

Solutions: 

  • You don't need to cheat because there is nothing to cheat on! Maybe you enjoy a small portion of ice-cream after your dinner on Wednesday night or a piece of chocolate on Thursday. Be okay with it and get on with it the next day. Then Saturday comes around but you’re not in the mood for it because you're satisfied with dinner. 
  • Reframe your mindset and break the cycle of overeating and try letting go of your food rules. What and when you eat is your choice no matter what day of the week it is. Own your choices! Except it the outcome and move on! 

 

Strategy 2.

Aim for "better" instead of "perfect"

Example 3: I had a birthday dinner with my friends. 

Did your friends tie you down to the chair and force feed you? No? Phewww.... I was getting worried! Own your choices! Stop. Take a breath. Maybe you went out and got chicken parmi for dinner. Great!!

Solutions: 

  • Ask yourself, “How could I make this meal better for my health” Aim for a little better, not perfect!
  • Maybe ask, to leave the chips and replace it with a salad.
  • Feel in the mood for chips? Great! Enjoy them and be okay with it and move on. You don't need to finish it off with a whole tub of ice-cream when you get home because "I've failed". 
  • Maybe try and fill half the plate up with vegetables and eat them with the parmi first. Maybe your too full to eat the chips after.

 

Strategy 3.

Give up the food rules! 

Example: Iv'e eat good all week. Fuck it! It's the weekend!

You've stuck to your strict food rules all week to a "T" and your heading out for after work dinner and drinks with your friends. Everyone else is chewing down on pizza and beers and of course your trying to hold back because of "your strict diet". You try so hard to hold off until you finally give in to a slice and beer to wash it down. 

Fuck! Well I've blown my diet, so I might as well keep eating which of course leads to the binge and the uncomfortable food baby in your stomach. "I'm a failure, I guess I'll just start again on Monday.

Brainstorm a strategy to deal with this over-eating episode as far in advance as possible. Respond to those thoughts before they hit you. 

Solutions:

  • Ditch the food rules! When are you likely to overeat or binge? Ask yourself, what might happen if I let go of the food rules? 
  • If you find yourself in a "fuck it" situation, try and tune into your hunger and fullness cues. Eat when your hungry and stop when your physically full.
  • Okay. So maybe you've overeaten after work on Friday. Except it and move on. Start fresh Saturday morning and start your day off with a nutritious meal and a walk down the beach. Get back on track!
  • In the end its your choice. You decide your behaviours. Your free to eat whenever you want but remember, different choices have different outcomes. 

 

Note to Self:

Remember your practising! Changing habits takes time! The outcome depends on what you can do consistently and sustainably over the long term in your life.

Your learning, growing and developing. If you fall off track again, it doesn’t mean you have failed. Ask yourself: How could I approach this better next time? Failing can be a chance to learn about yourself and what works and doesn’t work for you. Take things in a new direction and keep practising!

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The Problem with Strict Meal Plans & Counting Calories

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The principles of energy balance work

  1. Take in more calories/energy than you expend, you gain weight.
  2. Take in fewer calories/energy than you expend, you lose weight.

But…...

From the minute your food is prepared and cooked to the minute your food is digested and comes out the other end (poo) can change the amount of calories you absorb. 

  • Calories counts are imprecise

  • We don’t absorb all of the calories we consume

  • How you prepare your food changes its calorie load from cooking, chopping and blending 

  • You as a unique individual absorb calories differently to the person standing next to you

  • Calorie counting is not sustainable long term 

The are a number of unexpected factors that can change the amount of calories your absorbing. 

 

Following Strict Meal Plans and Calorie Counting - Is It Worth It? 

Unless your an Elite or Professional Athlete training for your next Olympic Games, calorie counting and following strict meal plans is not necessary for the general population that want to improve their health, fitness and lifestyle habits. 

The first problem is actually having to go through the hassle and the math of figuring out your "calorie needs” and then of course assuming that the database or the website your using estimates correctly. Often or not they can be incorrect by 25% around nutrition labelling, lab measurement error and the quality of the food. 

The second problem is you have to calculate the amount of calories you burn on the daily also often or not can have around 25% of measurement error because of the equipment your using. (Fist pump your way to work tomorrow morning wearing your Fit Bit and I guarantee you will clock up some extra calories 😉 

The third problem is having to weigh and measure out your food to the decimal every single time you make a god dam meal!! (I've been here before!) Your not going to pull out the measuring cups or dust off the scales in front of your friends and family members at your next social get together. Your not going to go out for dinner with your scales in your hand bag to pull out and weigh your food at the restaurant table so you don’t go over your daily calorie intake goal. 

The forth problem is no matter how enthusiastic you are, meal plans can be tough to follow. We get busy. Life gets in the way. We’re not always prepared. Kids get sick. You get stuck at work until late. It’s always someones birthday or social event. Sometimes you just don’t feel like having eggs for breakfast or chicken for lunch. 

The fifth problem is you follow the meal plan perfectly! Most meals plan are meant to be temporary. There designed for a quick fix like dropping a few extra kilo before a wedding, learning to manage blood sugar or cutting weight for a specific event or competition. Our bodies will adapt to a rigid way of eating for a short period of time no matter what you throw at it. But if you’re too strict for too long following eating an extremely low calorie intake, you could wind up with unhealthy eating habits and lasting health consequences including mental, metabolic and hormonal issues. 

Don’t get me wrong, it is a great way to get an idea on how much food were eating each day. That way we can adjust our calories based on our goals. But the hassle of counting your calories and following strict meal plans can be a freeeeaking nightmare after a while! I’ve tried it before. I became obsessed with what I put in my mouth. I became obsessed with weighing my food literally to the decimal! I felt guilty when I would have something “bad” resulting in binging and over-eating on the weekends. I would feel guilty when I would eat something off the “meal plan” and skipping my next meal to pay the consequences and deal with my guilt. I was constantly thinking about food every hour of the day which made me even hungrier between meals. I would turn down social gatherings because “it was't on my meal plan”. Although I did get to an ideal body weight, i was still never happy and I had created a terrible relationship with food. 

No wonder so many people give up there strict diet plan and go back to eating the way they were before!

 

The Good News!

Calorie counting and a strict meal plan is rarely necessary!

No weight scales. No measuring cups. No strict meal plans. No strict food guidelines. 

All you need is the ability to count to two! And your hand! It’s portable and you can take it everywhere with you 🙂 

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Planning Your Meals Flexibly! 

Based on the guidelines above assuming you’ll be eating 3 or 4 meals per day, you now have a simple and flexing guide to use when planning your meals. 

Women - Start with 1 x portion of each protein, vegetables, carbs and healthy fats per meal

Men - Start with 2 x portions of each protein, vegetables, carbs and healthy fats per meal

Note: This only serves as a starting point. You won’t know exactly how your body will respond to this from the start so stay flexible and adjust your portions based on your hunger, fullness and personal goals. 

*Eat when your physically hungry. Stop when your satisfied, not stuffed!* 

Example - if you’re trying to lose weight but have come to a plateau/stalling point, you might look at eliminating a cupped size of carbohydrates at a particular meal. 

 

Start Small. One Step at a Time! 

Concentrate on improving one meal each week. 

Using the examples above, you might think about things like:

  • adding protein

  • adding veggies or fruits

  • adding healthy fats 

  • adding more nutrient dense carbohydrates 

  • drinking more water

  • eating more slowly and mindfully

Try just fiddling with one or two, and see which ones work best for you! Your goal is to find what works for you in the long term around your lifestyle to create sustainable healthy habits.